Every summer, the Oxford Dictionary releases a list of new words added to its online edition. Among 2015’s new words are:
- Rando: “A person one does not know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behavior.”
- Manspreading: “The practice whereby a man, especially one traveling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats.”
- Onboarding: “The action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization or familiarizing a new customer or client with one’s products or services.”
- Hangry: “Bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.”
I can still remember my mother trying to correct my speech by saying “Ain’t isn’t in the dictionary, Kristin.” It is now, Mom! English is a such a rich, wonderful language precisely because of the way it evolves and embraces new words and usage.
An important part of continuous education is understanding how your customers communicate. Successful businesses not only listen to what their customers want, but how they say it. If you’re marketing to teens, for example, you need to know that an emotional appeal might give them so many feels that they can’t even. And that this is a good thing! Chocolate and peanut butter had a meet cute back in the 80s, and millions still ship it (it’s one of my OTPs).
Keeping your ears open to fresh language is a great way to invigorate your messages, whether you’re communicating with external or internal audiences. Some of my new favorite words for around the office are:
- Tradigital: “The melding or combination of the traditional and computer based (digital) methods used to create something”
- Automagically: “Something that happens automatically, but that also has some mysterious, “magical” element to it.” Or, “Something difficult that you inexplicably think takes no work to accomplish.”
- Trilemma: “A difficult choice with three different options.”
- Brainscorn (this one is my own creation): “The act of calling out a bad idea in the middle of a brainstorming session.”
What words will make the cut in 2016? I’d love to hear your predictions. My bets are on “dark money” and “Khaleesi”.